Friday, July 16, 2010

Today in BP Oil Disaster: Day 88

Posted By on Fri, Jul 16, 2010 at 1:43 PM

BP says it's "encouraged" about the new cap holding, but it's only one day into a two-day test of its integrity. (The cap's. Not BP's.) BP itself warns, "It's not the time to celebrate." The relief well, says the company, is still on track for August.

• A profile of Ken Feinberg, the $20 Billion Man. He's the one who will be doling out BP claims to affected residents. And not a minute too soon for frustrated and furious Louisianans.

Here's what happens when you fib: Turns out people don't believe you when you appear to be telling the truth. "Some have trouble believing BP stopped oil leak":

Reaction to the news that BP PLC had cut off the flow from the blown well nearly three months after an oil-rig explosion was marked with deep distrust of the oil giant. Gulf Coast residents have suffered from months of false starts and dashed hopes, failed "top kills" and abortive "junk shots," containment domes and "top hats," as they watched the biggest offshore oil spill in U.S. history foul their shores and eat into their livelihoods.

"It's a (expletive) lie," shouted Stephon LaFrance, one of several oil-stained oystermen standing around Delta Marina in marshy Plaquemines Parish. "I don't believe they stopped that leak. BP's trying to make their self look good."

Sitting on a boat, his cousin, Louie Randy Barthelemy, looked up and said: "BP's trying to manipulate the media."

"It doesn't mean anything," Craig St. Amant said as he tried to sell tours to passers-by on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. "They tell you what they want you to hear. I don't think they're being truthful in saying what they're saying."

"Gulf Fishermen Struggling Long Before BP Oil Spill." True dat.

• Gov. Bobby Jindal expresses cautious optimism. Rep. Henry Waxman of California blasts BP for "reckless decisions." Meanwhile, Alaska Rep. Bob Young is still BP's bestie on Capitol Hill:

Don't assume the company's actions in the Gulf of Mexico are associated with BP's stake in the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, the veteran Alaska lawmaker told colleagues Thursday during a House hearing to examine pipeline safety issues across the country. The employees of BP are "honorable people," Young said, and defended the safety record of the 800-mile pipeline system operated by Alyeska Pipeline Service Co.

• And in Unfortunate Metaphor of the Day, AOL Finance compares the Third World Problem of iPhone 4 reception with the greatest environmental disaster in American history, in a story by Todd Lappin titled "Apple's BP Moment: Will Steve Jobs Cap the iPhone Credibility Leak?":

Stop me if you've seen this movie before. The plot unfolds something like this: Disaster strikes when an esteemed, well-established company becomes embroiled in a high-profile product-defect crisis. As word about the defect spreads, each passing day brings new revelations that the problem is real, that executives were warned about potential flaws in the product's design long before the crisis began, and that there's no solution in sight.

Amid the ensuing media frenzy, officials retreat into a defensive crouch by stonewalling reporters, issuing non-denial denials, spewing disinformation, or trying to silence and discredit outspoken critics. The story gets worse and worse, day by day. Like a slow-motion train wreck, you can't help but watch as the bad news gradually destroys years of meticulously accumulated brand equity.

That's what happened to BP (BP) in the early weeks of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. It's what happened to Toyota (TM), during the early weeks of the sudden-acceleration crisis. And now it's happening to Apple (AAPL), amid the unfolding saga of the iPhone 4's already infamous antenna-reception defect.

You're going to throw your back out carrying that metaphor, Mr. Lappin.

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